The day after Memorial Day is the official start of the summer season -- or at least when Miss Manners says we can pull our white shoes out of the closet. With summer comes vacation and people wishing they were on vacation. It can be difficult to keep people engaged when it would be so much more fun to be at the beach or the amusement park. Here's what some smart companies are doing this summer to keep employees happy at the office.
Harbortouch encourages breaks to blow off steam with massage chairs, TVs, and PlayStations in the break room.
Since last summer, Trustev has expanded quickly, now boasting a U.S. staff of 10 to go with its 20 employees at the Irish HQ. To celebrate, it's taking all staff from both offices to Castlemartyr, a country house turned luxury hotel in the south of Ireland, to meet one another and relax at a spa and golf course.
Zignal Labs has created a pet-friendly environment that boosts morale and lowers stress for employees worried about their four-legged best friends sitting at home on a hot summer day.
Big Ass Fans keeps it cool. Says Kayla Ramic, events and engagement manager: "Summertime is busy season when you work at a fan company, so we build in some extra perks to keep our employees motivated. We organize an annual canoe/kayak trip down the Kentucky River and focus on fitness with internal fitness challenges and weekend events, including hikes. We also host a huge company picnic filled with games, activities, food, and fun for employees and their families. To top it off, on days that get really hot, we bring around ice cream or call our local shaved ice truck to stop by our production facilities to give employees a cool treat during break time."
Commvault encourages a healthy and fit lifestyle with a walking trail, baseball field, and basketball court. Also, it promotes a green culture with charging stations for electric cars on site.
Red Hat provides a place where employees can anonymously and openly gossip. They have an internal forum they can "whisper" with few repercussions for anything posted. It has improved morale and productivity.
GameOn sponsors real-world fun. Says CEO Alex Beckman: "While we are building a social platform that will allow sports fans to enjoy any game on earth with their buddies regardless of locale, we still admit there's nothing quite like being at the game. Along with occasionally taking the entire team out for a ballgame (most recently to Golden State Warriors playoff games), at GameOn we also give every employee a live-entertainment ticket budget of $2k per year. They can go wild and spend it all at once, or they can go often and be a bit more frugal -- up to them -- but it makes summer more entertaining and reminds everyone why we're working so hard!"
Brivo finds ways to make meetings faster/more meaningful with a "no rehash" policy during meetings. By quickly alerting meeting attendees that a point has already been discussed with the raise of a "no rehash" paddle they made, meetings can be more productive and take less time out of the day.
AeroFS encourages employees to budget their time like they do their money and hold themselves accountable to their time budget to create a level work-life balance. Also, they promote unplugging outside the office (encouraging employees not to read email before bed or first thing in the morning when they wake up).
GuideSpark gets healthy. Says CEO Keith Kitani: "GuideSpark is offering a health and wellness fair, for employees to learn stress-busting techniques, get health exams and free chair massages, and win prizes. Employees will also have the opportunity to participate in our Sparks-Give-Back program, volunteering their paid time to raise funds for and provide support to select organizations in our community."
Throughout the summer, online auction marketplace Invaluable offers Yoga Thursdays, where an instructor comes into the office to teach a yoga class to employees. They also have catered lunches every Friday.
SHIFT Communications started a new initiative called Flex Fridays, where employees can leave the office at 3 p.m. each week. The old policy, Summer Fridays, let employees leave work at 1 p.m., but only once every few weeks.
Fancred makes up for lost time. Says co-founder and CXO Jeremy Merle: "Being based in Boston, the winter is miserable, so when summer rolls around we make getting outside part of our culture. Our office is next to the Public Garden, and we frequently have team lunches in the park and grab ice cream on Friday afternoons. We also encourage our team to take advantage of our $200 monthly allowance for tickets and sporting events. Fenway Park is a great way to enjoy the summer in Boston!